Team Blue is on a roll with their Intel 13th Gen (Raptor Lake) CPUs, delivering substantial performance gains over the previous generation. The new processors offer more cores, higher boost clocks, and better connectivity features overall, as we saw in our Intel i9-13900K review. Going the Intel route for a high-end gaming PC seems like a no-brainer, right? We agree! To help you with your PC build, we have compiled a list of the best Z790 motherboards you can pair with your shiny new 13th Gen CPU.
With PC components, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Thus, we have included the best options in the premium, mid-range, and budget price segments, along with the best overall Z790 and the best mini-ITX Z790 motherboard to help you make a better buying decision. Let’s dive in!
1. Asus ROG Maximus Z790 Hero — Best Top-Tier
|4 x DIMM, Max. 128GB, DDR5 7800+ (OC)
|20+1 VRM Power Stages
|Wi-Fi 6E, 2.5 GbE LAN, USB4, USB-C, Thunderbolt 4, DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.1
|5x M.2 Ports, 6x SATA Ports
The ROG brand holds a special place in the hearts of gamers, and rightly so! Asus has delivered fantastic hardware one generation after the other under its Republic of Gamers portfolio and continues that legacy with the ROG Maximus Z790 Hero. This board is feature-packed to the brim.
The board features 2x PCIe 5.0 x16 slots and 1x Hyper M.2 slot that supports PCIe Gen 5 SSDs; something most other Z790 motherboards don’t offer. You also get DDR5 support, Wi-Fi 6E, two Thunderbolt 4 ports (support up to 40Gbps bi-directional data transfer), and more than enough I/O internally and on the rear.
Oh, and if you fancy some overclocking action, ROG Maximus Z790 Hero has your back! It features Dual ProCool II power connectors and a solid VRM with 20+1 Power Stages (and beefy heatsinks), which can power the higher-end 13th Gen Intel CPUs even when overclocked.
There are multiple fan headers on the board and excellent support for water-cooling hardware. Here, Asus has implemented dual water-temperature headers and a flow-rate header that allow you to track coolant temps and the flow rate of your custom loop using their Armoury Crate software.
This premium Z790 motherboard also features a couple of neat software tricks such as AI Overclocking and AI Cooling II, which are one-click solutions that you will find especially useful if you want performance gains without tinkering with the BIOS/UEFI. It’s an expensive motherboard — there are no doubts about it — but it’s a no-compromise option. It has all the fancy bells and whistles, it looks great, and the overclocking support is second to none.
Pros Cons Solid VRMs and power delivery Extremely pricey Excellent water cooling support No 10GbE LAN Two high-speed Thunderbolt 4 ports Fantastic overclocking capabilities Built-in Wi-Fi 6E
Buy from BestBuy ($629.99)
2. Gigabyte Z790 AORUS MASTER — Best Overall
|4 x DIMM, Max. 128GB, DDR5 8000 (OC)
|20+1+1 VRM Phase Design
|Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, 10 GbE LAN, USB 3.2 Gen 2, USB-C (3.2 Gen 2×2), DisplayPort 1.4
|5x M.2 Ports, 4x SATA Ports
Behold! The Z790 AORUS Master is a big-boi motherboard in its price, feature set, and size (this is an E-ATX board). Case compatibility may be an issue here, but if your current PC case supports the E-ATX form factor, you’re in for a treat!
The Z790 AORUS Master can handle a maximum of 128GB of DDR5 RAM up to a staggering 8000MT/s and above (overclocked, of course). Plus, it comes with a bunch of smart overclocking features, such as:
- The Optimization Mode: It allows 13th Gen Intel CPUs to run all cores at higher clock speeds without throttling.
- Instant 6GHz: A BIOS setting that lets you run your i9-13900K, i9-13900KF, i7-13700K, or i7-13700KF at 6GHz and beyond.
- Spec Enhance Mode: It allows 13th Gen Intel CPUs to balance high performance and low temps.
- E-Core Disable: It allocates CPU resources to the P-cores for increased performance with lower power consumption.
The Z790 AORUS Master is an overclocking-friendly board. If the OC features did not convince you, the motherboard VRM will! With its 20+1+2 phase design and beefy VRM heatsinks, overclocking even the most power-hungry CPUs (like the Core i9-13900K) while keeping things cool is an easily achievable feat.
The board features solid connectivity options, including support for 10GbE LAN, Wi-Fi 6E, 5 M.2 slots, 6 SATA ports, ample fan headers, more USB ports than you’d know what to do with, and DP 1.4. The only downside is the lack of support for USB 4.0/Thunderbolt.
The board also shines in the looks department (literally) with tasteful lighting and an industrial aesthetic. It’s definitely an eye-catcher! So overall, a highly recommended motherboard!
Pros Cons Solid VRMs and Power Delivery Expensive High-speed 10 GbE LAN Lacks USB 4.0/Thunderbolt support Excellent overclocking support Case compatibility can be a concern Great Aesthetics Built-in Wi-Fi 6E 5x M.2 slots
Buy from Amazon ($489.99)
3. ASUS ROG STRIX Z790-I Gaming Wi-Fi — Best Mini-ITX Board
|2x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR5 7600 (OC)
|10+1 VRM Power Stages
|Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, 2.5 GbE LAN, Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2 Gen 2, USB-C (3.2 Gen 2×2), HDMI 2.1
|2x M.2 Ports, 2x SATA Ports
Sometimes small IS better (no matter what others might say)! This is for all ITX motherboard lovers out there. If you are unaware of the different motherboard sizes and types, check out the linked guide.
The ROG STRIX Z790-I Gaming Wi-Fi motherboard cuts down on size, not features. You get 2x DIMM slots with support for a maximum of 64GB DDR5 memory up to 7600MHz, a PCIe 5.0 x16 slot for your graphics card, one M.2 slot with PCIe Gen 5 speeds, another M.2 with PCIe Gen 4 speeds, 2x SATA ports, and 2x Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports for dual bidirectional fast data transfer. Oh, and there’s Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 built right into the board, with support for 2.5GbE LAN.
Like the much more expensive ROG Maximus Z790 Hero, the ROG STRIX Z790-I Gaming board also features an 8-pin ProCool II power connector for the CPU. The VRMs are also high-quality, featuring 10+1 Power Stages rated at 105A; more than enough to power 13th-Gen CPUs smoothly. Asus’s smart AI Overclocking and AI cooling functionality also make their way into this motherboard, making it easy to overclock your configuration and squeeze the most performance out of it.
If you are considering going the mini-ITX way for your new 13th Gen Intel build, you cannot go wrong with the ASUS ROG STRIX Z790-I Gaming Wi-Fi motherboard! It’s a top-notch board that, despite its smaller form factor, packs one hell of a punch.
Pros Cons Thunderbolt 4 & USB-C VRM isn’t the most powerful Good overclocking features Built-in Wi-Fi 6E Solid connectivity options, overall
Buy from Amazon ($449.99)
4. MSI MAG Z790 TOMAHAWK Wi-Fi — Best Mid-range Motherboard
|4x DIMM, Max. 128GB, DDR5 7200+ (OC)
|16+1+1 VRM Power Stages
|Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, 2.5 GbE LAN, USB 3.2 Gen 2, USB-C (3.2 Gen 2×2), HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4
|4x M.2 Ports, 7x SATA Ports
The MSI Tomahawk series has always been a popular mobo option for its feature set and value proposition, and the Z790 TOMAHAWK Wi-Fi is no different.
The board has 16+1+1 VRM phases, which should provide plenty of stable, clean power to your CPU under all loads. It also features high-quality VRM heatsinks to ensure things don’t get too hot to handle when you indulge in some CPU overclocking shenanigans. Speaking of overclocking, while it’s not an OC beast like the ROG Maximus or the AORUS Master, it will be able to handle mild to heavy-ish overclocks like a champ! The memory support is solid too; you can install a maximum of 128GB of DDR5 RAM at 7200+ MT/s (overclocked).
The MSI Z790 TOMAHAWK does cut some corners, however. It features a reinforced PCIe Gen 5x 16 slot (which is fantastic), but the M.2 slots are only rated for PCIe 4.0. While the M.2 slots aren’t the latest and greatest, you do get four of them, along with seven SATA ports.
The board also misses out on 10GbE LAN but makes up for it by giving you onboard Wi-Fi 6E (it’s baked-in, so you don’t have to buy a Wi-Fi card separately), which is nice to have. And while there’s no Thunderbolt or USB 4.0 action, there are a handful of USB 3.2 Gen 2 (and a Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 2×2) ports for your connectivity needs.
For the money, this is an exceptionally well-rounded motherboard. It offers a decent set of features and a clean industrial aesthetic that will go well with any build. Also, it comes with a DDR4 option, if that’s something you’d like.
Pros Cons Decent VRMs No PCIe 5.0 slots for M.2 SSDs Good selection of ports A muted, industrial design Built-in Wi-Fi 6E Comes in a DDR4 variant
Buy from Amazon ($269.99)
5. Gigabyte Z790 AORUS ELITE AX — Best Budget Motherboard
|4x DIMM, Max. 128GB, DDR5 7600 (OC)
|16+1+2 VRM Power Stages
|Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, 2.5 GbE LAN, USB 3.2, HDMI 2.0, Display Port 1.2
|3x M.2 Ports, 6x SATA Ports
If you want a well-rounded motherboard that doesn’t break the bank, the Gigabyte Z790 AORUS ELITE AX makes a ton of sense for your latest 13th-Gen Intel CPU. It features 4x DIMM DDR5 slots rated for a maximum capacity of 128GB and speeds of 7600MT/s. There’s one PCIe 5.0 x16 slot for the GPU, 2x M.2 slots running at PCIe 4.0 speeds, six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, plenty of USB ports and headers (up to USB 3.2 Gen 2×2), 2.5GbE LAN, Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.3.
The VRMs have a 16+1+2 phase design, which will handle 13th Gen CPUs without any issues — both at stock speeds and even when mildly overclocked. Thanks to their large heatsinks, the VRMs stay nice and cool.
On the design front, there aren’t any over-the-top accents or design elements that stand out. The Gigabyte Z790 AORUS ELITE AX boasts an understated design with black and grey shrouds, which can be a pro or a con, depending on whom you ask. Overall, the board is a solid choice under $300.
Pros Cons Solid VRM design No support for PCIe Gen 5 SSDs Built-in Wi-Fi 6E Value for money
Buy from Amazon ($249.99)
6. MSI PRO Z790-A Wi-Fi Motherboard
|4x DIMM, Max. 128GB, DDR5 7200+ (OC)
|16+1+1 VRM Phase Design
|Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, 2.5GbE LAN, USB 3.2 Gen 2, USB-C (3.2 Gen 2×2), HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4
|4x M.2 Ports, 6x SATA Ports
Another fantastic Intel Z790 option in the budget segment is the MSI PRO Z790-A Wi-Fi, a no-frills motherboard that gets the basics right. It offers PCIe Gen 5 (x16) speeds for your graphics card, support for PCIe Gen 4 SSDs, 4x DIMM slots for up to 7200MT/s DDR5 memory, and multiple fan headers.
The PRO Z790-A features a 16+1+1 VRM phase design, which is more than decent enough to power the higher-end Raptor Lake CPUs and shall serve you well even if you decide to overclock your CPU. It also offers Core Boost and Memory Boost, allowing you to unlock the full potential of your configuration. The motherboard won’t hold you back in any way performance-wise.
Here, connectivity options are solid too. You get 2.5GbE LAN, onboard Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, six SATA connectors, Type-C ports (front and rear I/O), and multiple USB ports up to USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 speeds.
There’s also a DDR4 version of the MSI PRO Z790-A Wi-Fi, which is about $10 cheaper. It offers 4x DIMM slots for up to 5333MT/s DDR4 memory, keeping all other specifications the same as the DDR5 version. If you are on a strict budget, you can go for the DDR4 variant, else we suggest getting the DDR5 variant in 2024.
Pros Cons Robust VRMs Lacks support for PCIe Gen 5 SSDs Good connectivity options Comes in a DDR4 variant Built-in Wi-Fi 6E Good value
Buy from Amazon ($239.99)
7. Asus TUF GAMING Z790-PLUS WIFI D4
|4x DIMM, Max. 128GB, DDR4 5333 (OC)
|16+1 VRM Power Stages
|Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, 2.5GbE LAN, USB 3.2 Gen 2, USB-C (3.2 Gen 2×2), HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4
|4x M.2 Ports, 4x SATA Ports
If you want to go for a 13th Gen Intel processor but aren’t ready to make the jump to DDR5 yet, the Asus TUF Gaming Z790-Plus Wi-Fi D4 might be the board for you.
You get a PCIe 5.0 x16 slot for your graphics card, four M.2 slots with PCIe Gen 4 speeds, 4x DIMM slots for a maximum of 128GB of DDR4 memory up to 5333 MT/s, and a 16+1 VRM configuration paired with a solid cooling system. You can, without any hesitation, slot super high-end components into this motherboard and overclock them, and it will handle it all well.
Also, it will look great in your build! The board features a rough industrial aesthetic with slight yellow accents that give it a truly TUF look.
It also comes with decent connectivity options, including four SATA ports, several USB ports (up to 3.2 Gen 2×2 speeds), built-in Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, and 2.5GbE LAN. Overall, the Asus TUF Gaming Z790-Plus Wi-Fi D4 offers excellent price-to-performance, and we highly recommend building with this one.
Pros Cons Solid power delivery with good cooling Lacks support for PCIe Gen 5 SSDs Nice aesthetics Built-in Wi-Fi 6 DDR4 Great value
Buy from Amazon ($259.99)
Why Should You Buy Z790 Motherboard?
Ask anyone who’s ever built a PC before, and they will tell you how the CPU and the graphics card get the most attention (they are the most exciting parts of the build, after all). Well, the motherboards often take a back seat, the approach being — if it’s compatible and runs all my components, I’ll buy it. While that’s all right for a budget or mid-tier gaming build, a higher-end PC will benefit from the extra features that premium motherboards like the Z790 offer, including better connectivity for your peripherals and support for overclocking.
All Z-series motherboards support overclocking, so if you want to squeeze that extra bit of performance out of your CPU (only if you have a CPU with the K suffix), the Z-series boards will be your best friend. But hold on! If all Z-series boards have overclocking support, shouldn’t you pick an older Z690 motherboard and save a few extra bucks?
The short answer is — you can. Both Z690 and Z790 motherboards are based on the LGA 1700 socket, support Intel’s 12th and 13th Gen CPUs, offer overclocking support, and have options for DDR4 and DDR5 memory. But, there are slight differences you should consider.
Features Z790 Z690 CPU Support Intel 12th & 13th Gen Processors Intel 12th & 13th Gen* Processors (*after BIOS update) Downstream PCIe 4.0 Lanes Up to 20 Lanes Up to 12 Lanes Downstream PCIe 3.0 Lanes Up to 8 Lanes Up to 16 Lanes 20 Gbps USB 3 Ports Up to 5 Up to 4 Intel Optane Support No Yes
The Z790 motherboards we have recommended above offer the most bang for your buck (at the time of writing), whether you want to build an overkill gaming PC or one centered around productivity. These options are hard to go wrong with. Have fun building your new 13th Gen rig!